Carson Wentz Will Be Traded
After an abysmal 4 win season in 2020, paired with a disastrous salary cap situation, the Philadelphia Eagles are looking at a full rebuild entering the 2021 offseason. It already started with the firing of head coach Doug Pederson and replacing him with the young Nick Sirianni. That is a major sign that this team is ready to start over. This is a roster filled with overpaid veteran contracts and the Eagles will be well over the salary cap. This means it’s time to make big changes to this roster, starting with the quarterback position.
One of the hottest stories in the NFL world right now is that the Eagles are shopping Carson Wentz and trying acquire draft capital in return for the quarterback. The biggest question surrounding the trade is what they could realistically get back for him considering the terrible year he had in 2020 and the massive contract that comes with him. Regardless of the package they get in return, it seems extremely likely that Wentz will be playing for a new team next season.
The transition away from Wentz already began at the end of last season when he was benched in favor of Jalen Hurts. The rookie second round pick out of Oklahoma provided mixed results in his 4 starts but definitely showed potential and athleticism. In just those 4 starts, Hurts accumulated 8 total touchdowns, 919 passing yards, and 272 rushing yards. If he kept that pace for a full 16 game season, he would have almost 3700 passing yards and over 1000 rushing yards. It’s a small sample size but not bad at all!
With all of this being said, it seems that the Eagles will give Hurts a shot at the starting quarterback job for the 2021 season. Being that he is still unproven, and also assuming that they do indeed trade away Wentz, the Eagles are going to need to add a quarterback to this roster. It would make the most sense for them to bring in a proven veteran to serve as the back up, while evaluating what they really have in Hurts and whether or not he is the starter of the future. A veteran signing would potentially be a cheap addition to this rebuilding team as well as a mentor for the young Hurts. Here are three options that would fit well in this situation.
The man known as FitzMagic is someone who is very familiar with this type of a role. Last year with the Miami Dolphins he served as the bridge to eventually get to Tua Tagovailoa. The 38-year-old has played for 8 different teams in his 16 year NFL career and will most likely be looking at a 9th team in his 17th season. Fitz is a guy who is looking for a team to sign with where he could possibly get some playing time at some point, because he is not going to be a full time starter anywhere. The Eagles fit this description. Hurts is far from a sure thing and if things go south, Fitz could step right in and play. Also, he is well known for being a great guy to have in the locker room and an excellent leader for the younger players. He would be an ideal mentor for Hurts and bring positive energy to a team that really needs it.
Fitzpatrick proved last season with the Dolphins that he still has something left in the tank with a rather impressive 76.9 total QBR. He accounted for 15 total touchdowns and was a big reason why the Dolphins almost made the playoffs last year. His energy played a huge role in establishing an identity for the Dolphins which is something that the Eagles desperately need right now. All things considered, the Eagles would be wise to offer Fitzpatrick a spot on the team.
When it comes to the role of a true veteran backup quarterback, it doesn’t get much better than Andy Dalton. At this point in his career he is comfortable and accepting of the idea of being a backup so there should be no controversy over the starting job like there would be with some of the other veteran options for the position. He is someone with plenty of experience that Hurts could learn from without the real threat of stealing the starting role unless there is an absolute disaster.
The now 33-year-old Dalton spent nine seasons as the starting quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals before last year when he was the back up to Dak Prescott for the Dallas Cowboys. He was consistently good but not great for the Bengals and even lead the team to the playoffs multiple times. In the six seasons in which he played in all 16 games he averaged 3700 yards and 24 touchdowns per season. In nine starts this past season after filling in for the injured Prescott he put up just over 2000 yards to go with 14 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. This sticks with his career theme of good but not great. All that being said, Dalton would be a solid veteran back up, and teacher for Hurts, if the Eagles do decide to bring him in.
A different route that the Eagles could take, rather than bringing in an older veteran to play behind Hurts, is to bring in a younger veteran that could potentially compete for the starting job. That is where someone like Jameis Winston comes in. At only 27 years old, and as a former first overall draft pick, Winston’s career as a starter may not be done yet. He served in a back up role on the New Orleans Saints last season where he was hoping to be the successor to Drew Brees this coming year, but it looks like the Saints are going to roll with Taysom Hill instead. This means that Winston is back on the market.
Winston did not play much at all in his one year with the Saints, but in his five seasons with the Tampa Bay Bucs he put up some big numbers. He accumulated nearly 20,000 passing yards and 131 total touchdowns across 72 games played. Impressive! The down side for him has always been the interceptions which he has a massive 88 of them over that same span. That’s well over an average of one per game. It has always felt like if Winston could ever clean that part of his game up, he could be a really good starter in this league. That has not happened yet, but maybe playing behind Brees for a year was a step in the right direction. If the Eagles want a quarterback competition, and someone to push Hurts to earn the starting job, Winston might be just the guy to accomplish that.